Boston Globe baseball writer Gordon Edes checks in every week (usually Thursday or Friday) with his take on the Red Sox. Ask your question now, and come back next week to see if it was answered.
Gordon, Don't you think that right about now Theo is wishing he had given in to Pedro Martinez on a four-year deal? He's better than anything the Sox have now, and we sure need a stopper, among other things. I can't believe the way Schilling, Clement and Wells all got hit hard recently, as well as the lack of offense. Are all the wheels off now? The Yanks have the momentum and it looks like 1978 again, although we may not even tie for the division. I'm very frustrated and disappointed!
Bill, Coral Gables, Fla.
A: Bill, if the Sox had known that Schilling would have the kind of year he had, they might have reconsidered, and yes, Pedro has had a great year, though it appears he's ready to call it a season now that the Mets are out of the race. Wells' knee went balky on him; he's had a cortisone shot, so we'll see how that responds. Clement's performance is troubling, but he's avoided a slump all season and it could be he's just hit his at the worst time. I'm not ready to write him off just yet. Hang in there. The Sox will have a chance to win this head to head next week.
I heard on the radio today that some Red Sox players wouldn't talk to the media on Tuesday night because of someone from the Herald wrote them off in a column. Is that true?
A: Mark, there was some thought initially that might have been the case, after my Herald colleague Tony Massarotti wrote a column that bore the headline "They're Done," but while there might have been a couple of guys miffed that Maz had written them off, I don't think there was a correlation between the column and the lack of players chatting after the game. The Sox won in a blowout, guys came out of the game early, and some of them left, including David Ortiz, who is a picture of cooperation with the media. Curt Schilling left before the media were allowed in the clubhouse, but his daughter was ill. So, no, the column in my view wasn't an issue.
I have an observation about our troubled $40 million SS that I have not heard mentioned all year. After watching almost every game this year I feel safe to say that Edgar Renteria is either injured or is suffering from chronic pain in his back/side. Every time he makes an error or reaches for a ball (notice he never dives), he spends the time before the next pitch stretching. He places his left hand holding his waist and his right arm above his head like he is stretching his right side. Try looking yourself and you will see this strange move he has done hundreds of times this year. Everyone I have told has seen it, convincing me further that there is something seriously wrong with him. Either way, he and Clement have been exactly what I expected; overpaid and overrated. Thanks.
A: Henry, perhaps you saw the comment A's bench coach Rene Lachemann made to Peter Gammons in which he suggested that Renteria was hurt; when Theo Epstein was apprised of that comment and asked if Renteria was hurt, he said: "Not according to our training staff.'' I asked several scouts, many of whom have seen Renteria for years, and they didn't think he was hurt. They mentioned that he looked stiff, wasn't moving well and definitely appeared uncomfortable. Theo says he's just having a bad month. He hit the ball well the last two games, but right at people. It remains to be seen what he gives us the club in the last 10 games.
I first need to say thank you and to let you know that I've enjoyed your writing since you made it to Boston. It's refreshing to know that us fans can get an objective view on the Boston sports scene every once in a while. Thanks man! I have 2 questions regarding Craig Hansen. Are there any worries that bringing him up too soon will hurt more than help? Can a pitcher of his caliber peak too soon? Although you can't compare them "stuff" wise, look at the results of someone like B.K. Kim and how/when he was thrown into the fire. Also, I heard Hansen may be looked at as a starter next year. What are your thoughts about this?
A: Glenn, Thanks for the good word. The Sox are being careful with Hansen. He's too valuable a piece to risk hurting at this stage. I don't think they're worried about him peaking too soon, but he had a long layoff after the draft before he signed, then they had to shut him down with a tired arm. They just want to make sure he doesn't hurt himself. There are people close to Hansen who believe that Hansen ultimately will become a starter, but having a guy like that for last call might be impossible to resist.
Gordon, with Renteria batting under .200 for the month of September, four errors in the last week and the inability to make routine plays, how can Francona justify playing him in a tight pennant race? How far can his loyalty go? Especially when he has a solid back-up in Cora, who is much better defensively and *at the very least*, as good as Renteria at the plate.
A: Lisa, Cora is a terrific defensive player, but Renteria hit the ball hard the last two games in Tampa Bay and while he had little to show for it, the Sox don't want to give up on his bat just yet. I don't think it's a question of loyalty. His slump this month has been shocking, though; the second-lowest on-base average in the majors in September is not what the Sox bargained for, obviously, and $40 million is obviously not a bargain.
Gordon, Is it just me or has the pitching staff gotten much worse since Dave Wallace took over? It seems like he has no clue on how to solve these guys' problems. Do you think Wallace comes back next year?
A: Sean, I have no reason to believe that the Sox are anything but very satisfied with Wallace's work. For two decades, he has been an outstanding pitching coach for the Dodgers, Mets and Sox, and that hasn't changed. I don't think Dave Wallace is responsible for the fact that Schilling and Foulke weren't able to duplicate their performance of the year before, and the other Sox starters have pitched pretty well, at least until recently.
One of the more shocking stories of this past year is the Red Sox not signing Theo Epstein to a lucrative long term contract. He will in essence be a "free agent" after the World Series is over, and will be free to pursue a contract with another team. The Phillies or the Nationals could make him a "Godfather" offer that he can't refuse, and one of the smartest GM's in baseball could be stolen out from under us. Who in the Red Sox organization is responsible for allowing this to possibly happen?
Bob, North Andover
A: Bob, I think the Sox will do whatever it takes to keep Theo. Come back and ask the question if Theo does leave, but I think John W Henry won't let him go.
Francona and his loyalty to players can really drive a Sox fan nuts. How long can you stick with a player who has been an absolute bust, put him in the 2-hole and ride it out. I know Edgar does do things on occasion, like move a runner over, but he has way too many bad at-bats and can kill a rally quickly. Why not put Graffanino in the 2-hole?
Ken, Elkridge, Md.
A: Ken, if Edgar continues to struggle, that would be a very viable option, but now Graffanino is hobbled with a strained groin so that is not an option, at least not immediately.
With Matt Clement struggling, should he be removed from the starting rotation and his place given to Jonathan Papelbon? Why isn't Papelbon starting?
A: Ken, I think the Sox have ridden Clement this far; he'll get two more starts in the regular season. Papelbon is needed in the pen; if Clement gets blasted his next two starts, then we'll revisit the topic.
Gordon love your mailbag. The questions I have is why doesn't Francona start playing baseball? How many times have we been a run or two down and had the opportunity to manufacture a couple of runs? It just doesn't appear to be in Francona's mind that perhaps a bunt might help advance runners especially when your a run or two down. That's baseball. It just seems that we're always depending on the long ball. Thanks for taking my questions.
Roger, Biddeford, Maine
A: Roger, surely you've recognized by now that the philosophy of this organization is not to give up an out with a bunt. This team bunts less than any in the American League -- 13 times this season, five fewer times than Oakland and 12 fewer times than the Yankees. You're right -- the Sox do rely, not so much on the longball as the big inning, and their offensive philosophy has proven successful. They're about to lead the league for the third straight season in runs scored, something that hasn't been done in either league since the early '50s (Sox '48-50, Brooklyn Dodgers '51-53). Actually, the Sox have some guys now who can put down a bunt if needed -- Damon, Cora, Graffanino, Renteria -- and yes, when a Johan Santana or Randy Johnson is on the mound, that could come in handy. But this is a lineup built to bash, not run.
When was the term Red Sox Nation first used? I tell friends that it was years ago maybe the 60's or 70's in various newspaper articles to describe Red sox fans. My friends think it's only in the last couple of years because NESN has used it as a marketing thing. I say it's way back. Who's right?
Jack, Rutland, Vt.
A: Jack, my colleague Dan Shaughnessy said it was first used by a Globe reporter not in sports, Nathan Cobb, back in 1986, but Shaughnessy gave it life and really was the person who made it part of our lexicon by his frequent use of the term from 1990 on. He even wrote a book with "Dispatches from Red Sox Nation" as part of the title.